New twists in security fraud

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As fun as it might be to stay on top of your friends’ activities, one aspect that isn’t, well, sociable about social media is securities fraud, says North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), whose members enforce state securities laws.

One old scam, affinity fraud, in which con artists join clubs or churches to gain the confidence of the people whom they want to rob, is gaining new life, thanks to the explosion of social media, NASAA says. A con artist can get highly detailed information about you from Facebook or other popular media sites and use that information to target you, NASAA says.

It almost goes without saying that if you’re hazy about how someone knows you, you should be wary of any offers that they send to you. An example: Maine authorities cracked down on a company that was based in the island nation of Vanuatu that trolled online chat rooms for the deaf and then contacted other visitors to the sites, promising huge payouts.